National Recovery Month: Removing Stigma from Problem Gambling, Other Addictions

September is National Recovery Month. The theme for this year’s initiative, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!”  SAMHSA’s goal is to raise awareness by encouraging people to share their personal connection to recovery.

Overall, 43 million Americans experienced a mental illness in the last year, and about 22 million had a substance use disorder. At those rates, virtually every American is affected—either directly or through a loved one–by a mental health or substance use disorder, including conditions like compulsive gambling.

Statistics compiled by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) show:

  • About 2.2% of Americans have had problem gambling symptoms in the past year.
  • Studies of people who are arrested show problem gambling rates are 3-5 times higher than in the general population.
  • Adult problem gamblers are 5 times more likely to have co-occurring alcohol dependence, and 3 times more likely to struggle with depression.
  • People with problem gambling have higher rates of past-year unemployment, divorce, and poor physical health.
  • Teens with problem gambling are 2 times as likely to binge drink than teens without the condition.

Using real-life stories to build recovery-supportive communities

Building a new narrative around addiction and mental health through National Recovery Month helps people in recovery and their loved ones by removing the stigma surrounding these conditions. The result is the creation of supportive communities, one of the four components people in recovery need to support long-term success, according to SAMHSA. All four components include:

  • Health (overcoming or managing symptoms);
  • Home (a stable and safe place to live);
  • Purpose (a sense of meaning through activities like work, school, family caretaking, or creative endeavors);
  • Community (social support systems that provide love, friendship, and hope).

Find a Recovery Month event near you or learn how to promote Recovery Month.

For gambling addiction education, prevention, intervention, or recovery resources in Lancaster or Lebanon, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 or fill out our Help Form.


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